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Books and Guides

This resource from the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (NCCMT) provides information about evidence-informed public health.

Since 2007, Social Ventures Australia (SVA) Consulting has completed over 400 projects with over 200 organisations across employment, education, community services, health and indigenous affairs. The SVA Consulting Quarterly brings together what they have learned from their work and the insights they have gained in new practices, novel methodologies and fresh wisdom.

This short handbook by Juliet Michaelson on measuring well-being is produced by the Centre for Well-being at nef (the new economics foundation) with input from nef consulting. It is designed primarily for voluntary organisations and community groups delivering projects and services, to help them kick-start the process of measuring well-being outcomes.

In Happiness: Lessons from a new science Richard Layard demonstrates the paradox at the heart of our lives: Most people want more income, yet as societies become richer, they do not become happier. Scientific research shows this to be true. There are now sophisticated ways of measuring how happy people are, and evidence shows that on average people have grown no happier in the last fifty years, even as average incomes have more than doubled. This book is considered to be a leading resources in the field of “happiness studies”.

This is a guide to the Continuum of Evidence of Effectiveness from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; a continuum that defines the standards of Best Available Research Evidence in the field of violence prevention and provides information for decision makers in this field on these standards.

This book from Barry Schwartz addresses a great paradox of modern life: Why is it that societies where individuals are offered more freedom and choice than ever before have higher rates of depression than ever before? Schwartz argues that the abundance of choice in western society today is making us unhappy.

Published by: , , 2004

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Case Studies

This report presents an evaluation of social return for the BeHealthy Programme (BHP) implemented by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in Russia with the financial support of the Mondelēz International Foundation (MIF). The programme is part of the Mondelēz Global Community Partnership Initiative to promote active, healthy lifestyles – a critical component of the company’s wellbeing mission.

The evaluation measures the impact of the BHP over a seven-year period (2008-2014) in three schools located in three different Russian regions where the programme was implemented: school no. 18 in Novgorod, Ropsha school (Leningrad region) and school no. 2 in Sobinka (Vladimir region).

Mondelēz International is a global snacking powerhouse and the company behind many of the world’s best-known snack brands including Oreo, Cadbury and Toblerone.

Their ‘Be Healthy’ programme was launched almost 10 years ago, read the SROI case study.

This paper from the UK Department of Health and Cabinet Office provides case studies of how five social enterprises have measured their social value. It presents the conclusions of an action research project to assist social enterprises and commissioners to understand better the wider impacts of service delivery and quantify the value in monetary terms.

This publication from Nina Mguni and Nicola Bacon at the Young Foundation presents three case studies of the Wellbeing and Resilience Measure (WARM). The report consists of three parts: Defining local wellbeing and resilience, Constructing the Wellbeing and Resilience Measure (WARM), Applying WARM in three case study local areas and Selecting indicators and creating the measurement framework.

Event Reports

This report synthesises the learning from the first convening facilitated by the Social Research Unit at Dartington and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in November 2011 on scaling what works in improving maternal health and reducing infant mortality in the developing world.

These slides summarise emerging lessons from several discussions on how to scale impact convened by the Social Research Unit at Dartington with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They are the product of the brilliance of many experts whose discussions are synthesised in two publications entitles Achieving Lasting Impact at Scale Part 1 and 2.

This report synthesises the learning from the first convening facilitated by the Social Research Unit at Dartington and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in November 2011 on scaling what works in improving maternal health and reducing infant mortality in the developing world.

External Databases and Resources

The world’s most comprehensive, free access point for evidence to support policy makers, stakeholders and researchers interested in how to strengthen or reform health systems or in how to get cost-effective programs, services and drugs to those who need them.

Crisis commissions external researchers to independently evaluate our projects and the services they offer, as well as to produce good practice guides on a range of topics.

Since 1989, ORS Impact have been delivering deep value into their clients’ organisations, working together to pursue ‘the change they seek,’ and to improve their communities’ health, wellbeing, and prospects to flourish. They share these resources, with a view to building capacity in organizations doing good work around the world. Resources are on topics inclusing Theory of Change, Evaluation Practice, Outcomes and Advocacy and Policy.

Founded in 2006, the Center for High Impact Philanthropy has emerged as a unique and trusted authority for donors seeking to maximise the social impact of their funds.

Resources include:

– What Are We Talking About When We Talk About Impact?
– Beyond Compliance: Measuring to Learn, Improve, and Create Positive Change
– Five Myths and a Question About Impact
– Global Children’s Health: A Toolkit for Donors

The resource also contains many philanthropic investment guides and reports.

More than 6400 publications have now been selected by TSRC for inclusion in the Third Sector Knowledge Portal – an easy-to-use online library of research, evidence, and analysis.

It has been developed by TSRC in partnership with the British Library and the Big Lottery Fund, and brings together over 6000 works such as: impact reports from third sector organisations; academic research projects; government studies; and more, in one collection of downloads, links and summaries.

The Dartington Social Research Unit is a charity that seeks to improve designing and delivering services for children and their families by promoting the increased use of evidence of what works. Their work spans education, health, social care and criminal justice systems. Their work involves data on children’s needs, information about what works, cost-benefit analysis and how money is spent at the local level. Projects include Investing in Children, A Better Start, Design and Refine and Into One Place.

People want to be happy. But do we know what makes us happy, or how society is best organised to promote happiness?
The Wellbeing Programme was founded in 2003 when Richard Layard gave his public lectures on “Happiness: Has social science a clue?” His book on Happiness then followed. The programme has expanded and now includes three main strands:

– Happiness and Public Policy
– Mental health
– Skills and unemployment
The Wellbeing Programme is also responsible for bringing together the members of the Mental Health Policy Group, which in June 2012 published its report How Mental Illness Loses out in the NHS, the subject of which Richard Layard discussed in his lecture “Mental Health: The New Frontier for the Welfare State”.

In 1996, the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV), at the Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado Boulder, designed and launched a national youth prevention initiative to identify and replicate violence, delinquency and drug prevention programs that have been demonstrated as effective. The Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development project identifies prevention and intervention programs that meet a strict scientific standard of program effectiveness.

Impact Reports

This report presents an evaluation of social return for the BeHealthy Programme (BHP) implemented by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in Russia with the financial support of the Mondelēz International Foundation (MIF). The programme is part of the Mondelēz Global Community Partnership Initiative to promote active, healthy lifestyles – a critical component of the company’s wellbeing mission.

The evaluation measures the impact of the BHP over a seven-year period (2008-2014) in three schools located in three different Russian regions where the programme was implemented: school no. 18 in Novgorod, Ropsha school (Leningrad region) and school no. 2 in Sobinka (Vladimir region).

The Outward Bound Trust provides young people with the opportunity to make new friends, to learn new skills and to achieve in new ways. These experiences are directly focused on improving the aspects of young people’s lives that underpin their well-being. Their 2014 impact report outlines the continuing journey they are taking to both prove and improve their effectiveness as a charity.

This paper from Avitus reports on their impact from 2012-2013. Avitus is a social enterprise which to improve the well-being of people with mood disorders and to reduce stress, burnout and depression in the Estonian society, and boost parental knowledge and parenting skills among parents living in Estonia in order to prevent future mental health problems among their children.

Independent research from the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York has commended the mental health services at Crisis for enhancing well-being and helping homeless people towards work and social integration.

Active Minds is a company built on years of research and personal experience. A close working relationship with Barchester Healthcare and Kingston University has allowed Active Minds to bring together knowledge, experience and research to create some unique products designed for people with dementia.

Published by: , , 2013

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Intentionalty CIC’s Impact Report documents its impact between 1st May 2012 – 30th April 2013. Intentionality CIC is a social enterprise and well-being consultancy with a particular interest in the meeting point of the two – where social enterprises set out to intentionally improve the well-being of individuals, communities and society.

This Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis from nef consulting was commissioned by Christian Aid for the Filling the Gaps project in Kenya. This project designed to improve the demand-side factors necessary to achieve the successful adherence of PWHIV (people living with HIV) to their ARTs (anti-retroviral therapies) thus improving their quality of life.

This report by Joëlle Bradly for Leicestershire County Council uses the Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology to explore the value of the Community Safer Sex Project (CSSP) in terms of who is affected by the project and what changes for them. The Community Safer Sex Project (CSSP) was established in 2001 to support the emerging Teenage Pregnancy Strategy. This SROI evaluation of CSSP found that for each £1 invested in CSSP supporting Connexions Leicester Shire to deliver sexual health services between approximately £7 and £9 is returned in social value. Through measuring and valuing the social and economic benefits of CSSP, the following outcomes were found to create the largest value:

– Reduction in teenage pregnancies for young people
– Young people make more informed proactive choices
– Reduced cost to public services of a teenage pregnancy
– Better support for young people taking risks reduces the cost of disengaged young people
– Improved access to emotional support for young people

This report gives an overview of GiveMeTap’s impact in 2013. GiveMeTap is dedicated to providing people in Africa access to clean water and reducing the consumption of one-use plastic bottles in the UK.

Active Minds is a company built on years of research and personal experience. A close working relationship with Barchester Healthcare and Kingston University has allowed Active Minds to bring together knowledge, experience and research to create some unique products designed for people with dementia.

Published by: , , 2012

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United Way Australia’s first Community Impact Report documents their community impact in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in 2012, focusing on three priority areas for impact: education, income and health. They developed a framework for representing the varying scale, complexity and nature of their work with input from the Centre for Social Impact.

This report from the British Red Cross by nef consulting (new economics foundation) is an independent economic analysis of their work with five individuals who received support from the British Red Cross. It aims to show how preventative services deliver savings for statutory partners. They assessed the costs which could have been incurred by the state to treat and deliver care to these five people had the Red Cross’ services not been there.

Speakeasy is a sexual health project that offers courses to parents to help them acquire the knowledge and confidence to communicate with their children about sex. The project has been running since 2002. Since 2006 Speakeasy has been supported with central funding from the Department for Education.

The FPA, the independent national charity which administers the programme, commissioned RM Insight to conduct a forecasted Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis in order to quantify the social value created by Speakeasy in England for the 2010/11 financial year.

The Outward Bound Trust provides young people with the opportunity to make new friends, to learn new skills and to achieve in new ways. These experiences are directly focused on improving the aspects of young people’s lives that underpin their well-being. Their 2011 impact report outlines the continuing journey they are taking to both prove and improve their effectiveness as a charity.

The Outward Bound Trust provides young people with the opportunity to make new friends, to learn new skills and to achieve in new ways. These experiences are directly focused on improving the aspects of young people’s lives that underpin their well-being. Their 2009 impact report outlines the continuing journey they are taking to both prove and improve their effectiveness as a charity.

Tools

The Outcomes Star from Triangle is a tool that measures and supports progress for service users towards self-reliance or other goals. There are twenty Stars, which are sector wide tools with different versions for homelessness, mental health and young people.

The outcomes matrix is a tool to help social investment financial intermediaries (SIFI’s) and social sector organisations to plan, measure and learn about their social impact. It aims to develop common ground and language for social investment and impact assessment in the social sector. The outcomes and measures are not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive but should provide a helpful starting point for organisations to consider their social impact.

MEASURING NATIONAL PROGRESS – To truly advance social progress, we must learn to measure it, comprehensively and rigorously. The Social Progress Index from Social Progress Imperative offers a rich framework for measuring the multiple dimensions of social progress, benchmarking success, and catalyzing greater human wellbeing. The 2014 version of the Social Progress Index has improved upon the 2013 ‘beta’ version through generous feedback from many observers.

The paper, by Geoff Dickens, Judy Weleminsky, Yetunde Onifade and Philip Sugarman, is a collaboration between Mental Health Providers Forum (MHPF) and St Andrew’s Healthcare. The study sought to explore the psychometric properties of Recovery Star to inform training and further development.

Specific objectives were to ascertain whether items on the tool measured a single underlying construct relating to recovery (internal consistency); to identify the nature of any underlying factors (factor validity); to identify any item redundancy; and to identify whether Recovery Star detects reported change over time (responsiveness).

The report findings indicate that the Recovery Star has high internal consistency and appears to be measuring an underlying recovery construct – providing further evidence for the use of the tool within recovery focused mental health services. In line with MHPF’s online analysis, it also demonstrates that the tool was capturing changes over time on most Recovery Star domains.

Training and Courses

The ‘how to’ training modules from Better Evidence for a Better Start (BEBS) at Dartington describe how to apply some of the key concepts to develop a strategy for the Better Evidence for a Better Start project. The purpose of this training is to provide local coordinators with the information and skills needed to develop a strategy for their areas. The modules were presented by the Social Research Unit at the ‘how to’ training event on the 22nd November 2013.

The six modules in this training are:

– how to develop a strategy
– how to interpret the Area Wellbeing Profile
– how to interpret the ‘What Works’ data
– how to chart resources
– how to review policy
– how to monitor implementation & outcomes

Videos

Michael Weatherhead from new economics foundation (nef) talks about a research project carried out for Christian Aid on their Filling the Gaps project in Kenya, funded by Comic Relief, using a Social Return On Investment (SROI) approach.

This video, from The Social Investment Business (SIB) Group and the Good Analyst, explains what a Theory of Change is and how you can use it as a key step in deciding what you will need to measure to evidence your social impact, using the example of The Rooftop Garden Project.

Working Papers and Research

Is love an essential requirement for a successful social enterprise? Or is it actually a by-product, the mechanism or even the result of one?

This report, by David Floyd for Intentionality CIC, explores the role that love has to play in social enterprises and in the creation of positive social impact.

From David Cameron to Ban Ki-moon, Dr Anthony Seldon to Professor Richard Layard, many agree that encouraging well-being is a priority. But what is its role in public policy, particularly with regards to young people? How can we measure progress on such a subjective issue? And what does data on well-being tell us about how girls and boys are faring?

This paper from NPC looks to answer some of these questions and shares new data, with the aim of bringing fresh insight into how to understand and measure the impact of interventions designed to improve the well-being of children in the UK.

It is widely agreed that GDP is an important yet insufficient measure of national success. In an attempt to broaden the scope for public policy analysis, a lot of progress has been made on developing the measurement of individual wellbeing, but a lot remains to be done on how best to apply these data to policymaking. The Commission on Wellbeing and Policy works to fill this gap and explore how wellbeing analysis can be usefully applied to policy.

Chaired by former UK Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell, the Commission on Wellbeing and Policy, which ran for approximately one year, produced a final report that illustrates the strengths and limitations of wellbeing analysis and provides original and authoritative guidance on the implications for public policy.

It is published by the Legatum Institute.

Briefing 47: Barriers to employment from the Centre for Mental Health presents what works for people with mental health problems. Paid work is essential for the wellbeing and financial security for many of us. However, for those with mental health problems who require extra support there are numerous barriers to attaining employment. This report looks at what interventions work as well as where gaps exist in evidence-based interventions and what might be tested to develop that evidence. It includes models such as Individual Placement and Support (IPS) and some provided by the Work Programme and Work Choice.

The Outcomes Star is a case-management and outcomes-measurement tool developed by Triangle Consulting Social Enterprise in the UK. This guide provides a practical approach to implementing the Outcomes Star that will ensure quality and consistency.

E.T. Jackson and Associates Ltd prepared Accelerating Impact: Achievements, Challenges and What’s Next in Building the Impact Investing Industry for The Rockefeller Foundation in 2012. It includes sections on Impact Investing: What It Is and Why It Matters, Achievements and Challenges: What’s Happened So Far, and What Hasn’t, Opportunities and Directions: What’s Next?

This paper by Daniel Fujiwara from the LSE launches a national discussion on identifying the evidence needs to prove the impact of adult learning for decision making at local and national level. This piece of research flows from two pieces of NIACE work: on behalf of the Local Government Association exploring the changing strategic role of adult learning and skills in communities; and our work for the Skills Funding Agency completing Social Return on Investment (SROI) analyses with a sample of Adult and Community Learning Funding projects, in partnership with the SROI Network. Using the Well-being Valuation (WV) approach, this paper shows that adult learning adds value to many wider agendas.

Local Wellbeing: Can we measure it? by Mandeep Hothi, Marcia Brophy and Nicola Bacon for the Young Foundation, presents proposals for measuring well-being to support local authorities and their partners in the shift to Comprehensive Area Assessment, the new local government performance assessment framework.

This paper by Paul Dolan, Tessa Peasgood, and Mathew White discusses the “economics of happiness”, of which there is increasing interest, and provides a detailed review of literature on this topic. The evidence suggests that poor health, separation, unemployment and lack of social contact are all strongly negatively associated with SWB. However, the review highlights a range of problems in drawing firm conclusions about the causes of SWB; these include some contradictory evidence, concerns over the impact on the findings of potentially unobserved variables and the lack of certainty on the direction of causality. We should be able to address some of these problems as more panel data become available.